Poolesville High School's stay in the Montgomery County's Division II girls tennis scene will be a brief one as the Falcons cruised through the competition without a blemish in division play to earn a ticket back to the county's elite division next fall.
Poolesville (9-2, 9-0 Division II) culminated that perfect run Thursday with a 6-1 victory against host Northwest, which was hosting its Senior Day, with the team's only setback of the day coming at No. 1 singles.
“It makes me happy because we are one of the only teams in the division without a [Mid-Atlantic] ranked player and none of my players have private coaches,” Poolesville coach Holly Dacek said. “This is all the girls, which is great to see. They've worked really, really hard for it.
“I thought we could do it. We'll struggle in Division I but I was really confident that we had enough overall talent. We had no superstar, which was nice because all the girls bonded well and got along well together.”
Northwest ace Lydia Xiao (11-0 this fall) started the match with a straight sets victory (6-0, 6-0) against Ashley Chang but Poolesville swept the next six matches for the resounding win, including a convincing singles victory by Shriya Gupta at No. 3 singles. She defeated Aashvi Vasavada, 6-0, 6-1.
“We have strong leadership with coaches and seniors this year and we've had a lot of new girls tryout and that's really helped,” Gupta said. “I just really felt on today.”
In the other two singles matches, Poolesville's Eki Olumese outdueled Becca Crowley, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles while Falcons freshman Carlee Pera outlasted Kacie Haines, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1, in what was perhaps the most exciting match of the day.
“We're so excited,” Olumese said. “We have a lot of new players this year so we were really looking forward to this. Last year was pretty tough for us because we were Division I but this year, we've come back stronger.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Elena London and Ana Vlajnic won in three sets while No. 2 doubles Alaina Pak and Hanna Kim and No. 3 doubles Ginny Moses and Impana Shetty won in straight sets.
“Congratulations to Poolesville. They're a good team,” Northwest coach Jeff Barnes said. “They're definitely the top of our division and they've been that way all year. They don't have a superstar but they fill a really deep team. It makes it hard for us to compete with them. They're deeper and a little more match-tough than we are.”
Poolesville 6, Northwest 1
No. 1: Lydia Xiao (NW) d. Ashley Chang, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Eki Olumese (PO) d. Becca Crowley, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3: Shriya Gupta (PO) d. Aashvi Vasavada, 6-0, 6-1
No. 4: Carlee Pera (PO) d. Kacie Haines, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1
No. 1: Elena London-Ana Vlajnic (PO) d. Paycal Sood-Kate Spongberg, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
No. 2: Alaina Pak-Hanna Kim (PO) d. Kelly Reed-Joyce Zhou, 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Ginny Moses-Impana Shetty (PO) d. Meghna Bhatt-Nathclie Aiggi, 6-3, 6-1
Poolesville (9-2, 9-0); Northwest (3-8, 3-4)